Most of us understand that poor dental care can lead to cavities, but many do not know that other, more serious health problems can arise from poor oral health too. The Mayo Clinic, as well as a report from ABC News, recently highlighted some areas of concern which we felt were important to share:
• Cardiovascular disease / Heart disease: Bacteria from inflammation of the gums and periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and cause hardening of the arteries, blocking blood flow through the body. This can lead to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
• Respiratory infections: Gum disease could cause infections in the lungs, including pneumonia. While the connection might not be completely obvious at first, breathing in bacteria from infected teeth and gums over a long period of time can create consequences.
• Dementia: The bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through either nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream, and can lead to confusion and possibly even the future development of Alzheimer’s disease.
• Diabetic complications: Inflammation of the gum tissue and periodontal disease can make it harder to control blood sugar and make diabetes symptoms worse.
Poor dental care is also a possible factor in other health conditions such as immune system disorders, weak bones, and problems with pregnancy and low birth weight.
Alternatively, certain medications—both those prescribed by your doctor and the ones you buy on your own—can affect oral health too. A common side effect of some medications is dry mouth. Saliva helps keep food from collecting around your teeth and neutralizes acids. If medications keep you from creating enough saliva, dental issues can start to arise. People with chronic health conditions who take certain medications should check-in with their dentist regularly.
If you didn’t already have enough reasons to take good care of your mouth, teeth, and gums, the relationship between your oral health and your overall health and wellness provides even more. Resolve to practice good oral hygiene every day.
It’s good for you.
Tobias Dentistry is located in the Fox Glen Professional Offices, 402 Fox Glen Court, in Barrington. For more information call 847-381-5654, or visit tobiasfamilydentistry.com.